A powerful look at the impact of medical research
Although Henrietta Lacks was a destitute tobacco farmer in the South who toiled the same land as her slave forebears, her cells became one of the most crucial medical instruments. HeLa cells played a key role in the creation of the polio vaccine as well as in the discovery of the atom bomb, cancer, and viral secrets. They also contributed to significant developments in cloning, genome mapping, and in vitro fertilization. Despite her accomplishments, she is buried in an unmarked cemetery and is essentially unknown.
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Twenty years after Henrietta Lacks’ passing, scientists started utilizing her husband and children in study without getting their permission. It was then that her family first learned of her “immortality.” Her family never received a penny from the multimillion dollar enterprise her cells had started. The horrific history of experimenting on African Americans, the development of bioethics, and the legal disputes over whether we have ownership over the materials we are created of are all intertwined by the narrative of the Lacks family.
“Named one of the greatest novels of our time, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks beautifully and dramatically portrays the drama and glory of scientific discovery as well as its impacts on people.”
The Book Guide® Editor
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the tale of a scientific breakthrough and its effects on people. Deborah Lacks, the daughter of Henrietta Lacks, who was left wondering if her mother had been cloned or died so that her cells might be harvested, was particularly affected by Rebecca’s involvement with the Lacks family. The novel portrays the beauty and drama of scientific discovery in a way that is intimate in emotion, astounding in breadth, and impossible to put down.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca SklootDune (2007) By: Glennon Doyle
by The Book Guide® Editors4.7/5 Very good